Sacramento Kings: The Rising Impact Of Anthony Tolliver

After signing with the team last summer, Anthony Tolliver has thrived in his first season with the Sacramento Kings and his importance to the team has only grown in recent weeks.

For the Sacramento Kings, the All-Star break can’t come here fast enough.

Injuries have continued to plague the Kings in recent weeks, forcing head coach Dave Joerger to adjust his rotation and turn to players that were on the outside looking in, in terms of consistent playing time.

On the bright side, those injuries haven’t derailed their season by any means as they are two games back of the eighth place in the West.

With the many changes, players that may have struggled with inconsistency or were short on playing time for stretches have now started to come up big for the Kings.  There’s arguably no better example of this than the effect Anthony Tolliver has had on the team in recent weeks.

Having signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Kings last offseason, Tolliver’s season got off to a slow start as the opportunity for playing time came in infrequent stints during the first month-plus of the season.

It wouldn’t be long into December, however, until that changed for the 31-year-old journeyman as he solidified his spot in the team’s rotation.

That has stuck ever since and now Tolliver’s value to the Kings may never be higher than it is right now, considering the amount of injuries the Kings have had to deal with, specifically to their forwards like Rudy Gay and Omri Casspi.

On the season, Tolliver is averaging 7.3 points per game while shooting 40.6 percent from deep and averaging a career high 62.1 percent true shooting percentage, all on 23.1 minutes per game.

Tolliver’s shooting, specifically on spot up possessions, has been stellar as he ranks in the 93rd percentile in those situations, averaging 1.23 points per possession as well as averaging a 64.4 percent effective field goal percentage, per NBA.com/stats.

While Tolliver’s individual numbers have stuck out this season, his value on the team overall has grown considerably, especially as the list of injuries have continued to pile up for the Kings recently.

For instance, in the wake of Rudy Gay’s season-ending injury, Tolliver ranks as one of the few Kings to have a positive net rating (plus-3 points per 100 possessions) when on the floor.

Conversely, the Kings fall off without Tolliver on the floor as they’ve been outscored by 7.8 points per 100 possessions, making that a 10.8 point drop off.

It’s a stretch that has come with positive results too, as the Kings have gone 7-7 during this time.

Although we’re clearly seeing the positive effect Tolliver’s had on the Kings so far, his play this season will mean a whole lot more, in terms of his future with the team.

Considering his contact is non-guaranteed for next season, Tolliver’s play this year will certainly play a big role in the team’s decision to guarantee his salary next year.

It’s a decision that only gets more complicated when you factor in that Casspi will be a free agent this summer.

The same could be said for Gay as well after he made clear intentions to opt out of his contract this summer, but it’s unclear at this point if his Achilles’ injury will change that plan.

Facing an uncertain future is obviously nothing new for Tolliver at this point, but the more he keeps up this level of play, it’s a question that he may not have to face this offseason.

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